Trying out some new techniques on the Irish
In preparation for our recent Pig Wars game (report forthcoming), I finished off a latest batch of Crusader Dark Ages Irish. In doing so I tried out a couple of techniques that are new to me, although old hat to many out there.
First off, I decided that I wanted to spice up my bases with some longer/shaggier grass. For my 15mm stuff, I’ve always just used a mix of a couple of different types of Woodland Scenics flocking. I was at the local Hobbytown the other day and they had some grass clumps similar to the Silflor grass clumps. However, I didn’t buy them at the time and when I went back the pack was gone. However, I did pick up some static grass from Gale Force Nine and used that in clumps on the bases of this batch of figures, along with my usual dirt, small rocks, and Woodland Scenics flock. It’s a pretty garish green, but clumped in smallish quantities, I like the effect.
The second new product I used for these were some shield transfers from Little Big Men Studios. I had hand painted a couple of simple knot work designs on some of my Irish and even those were a pain in the ass, with multiple touch ups required. Anything more complicated was simply beyond my available level of patience. Fortunately, LBMS makes a huge assortment of shield transfers specifically designed to accompany the shields produced by a number of major figure manufacturers, and includes among those some dark ages celtic designs. Unfortunately, LBMS does not make transfers specifically for the Crusader miniatures and so I got two sizes of Dark Ages Celtic design transfers made for Gripping Beast miniatures, concentrating on packs with knot work or animal designs.
The large designs I got worked well on the Crusader shields. The crusader shields are a little bit bigger, which simply required matching the color of the transfer and painting the outer area. The warrior with the boar shield is an example. The small bucklers from Crusader though were a bit smaller than the small decals I bought, so didn’t go on as easily and required a little cutting and bending the decal around the shield rim. The Crusader figures come with small and large bucklers and only the decals will only fit the larger bucklers. The blue and green buckler in the photos is an example of one of the small decals.several of that sheet of 12 are not usable with the Crusader bucklers because the designs go all the way to the edge. However, it turns out that these are the perfect size to fit the flat face of the rimmed Crusader shields, as shown on the model with the green shield. The only other hiccup I had was that all of the Crusader shields had larger bosses than the precut hole in the center of the transfer, so I had to trim them up a little. No big deal though.
Overall, I’m very happy with the LMBS transfers. They look fantastic and are pretty easy to use. However, at 3£ per sheet of 12 decals, I will defintely stick to using these for intricate designs. LBMS makes tons of transfers with simple geometric designs (e.g. quartered in two colors) that I’ll save the money on and simple paint on (although if you had unlimited cash, many of those designs are shown with a little wear and tear, etc)
Finally, I found some nice downloadable dark ages banners at the Fanaticus site for DBA. The horse banner for the Irish was used as is, and I recolored come black and white banners to give me some nice banners for some of my Vikings.